East of Chosin: Entrapment and Breakout in Korea, 1950

Overview

Roy Appleman's East of Chosin, first published in 1987, won acclaim from reviewers, readers, and veterans and their families. For the first time, there was one complete and accessible record of what happened to the army troops trapped east of the Chosin Reservoir during the first wintry blast of the Korean War. Based heavily on the author's interviews and correspondence with the survivors, East of Chosin provided some of those men with their first clue to the fate of fellow soldiers. In November of 1950, U.S. ...
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Overview

Roy Appleman's East of Chosin, first published in 1987, won acclaim from reviewers, readers, and veterans and their families. For the first time, there was one complete and accessible record of what happened to the army troops trapped east of the Chosin Reservoir during the first wintry blast of the Korean War. Based heavily on the author's interviews and correspondence with the survivors, East of Chosin provided some of those men with their first clue to the fate of fellow soldiers. In November of 1950, U.S. forces had pushed deep into North Korea. Unknown to them, Chinese troops well equipped for below zero temperatures and blizzard conditions were pushing south. With the 1st Marine Division on the west side of the frozen Chosin reservoir, the army's hastily assembled 31st Regimental Combat Team, 3,000 strong, advanced up the east side of the reservoir. Task Force Faith in the extreme northern position caught the surprise Chinese attack. With rifles and vehicles often immobilized in the cold and snow, the task force struggled to retreat through a tortuous mountain gauntlet of enemy fire. With truckloads of dead and wounded trapped along on the road, a few of the 385 survivors trudged across the frozen reservoir to alert the marines to their plight.
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Editorial Reviews

General - M. B. Ridgway
"An exhaustively researched revelation of what went wrong, and why, in the tragedy of U.S. Army operations in northeast Korea in 1950."—Gen. M. B. Ridgway, USA (Ret.)
Publishers Weekly - Publisher's Weekly
Appleman's book clears up one of the nagging mysteries of the Korean War: the fate of the 7thstet U.S. Division's Task Force Faith between November 27December 1, 1950, when Chinese forces surrounded it along the icy shores of the Chosin Reservoir. Due to poor command decisions and lack of communication, only 385 out of some 3000 GIs made it back to the relative safety of the Marine perimeter nearby. Appleman addresses the oft-debated question of why the Marines did not send a rescue force, and the degree to which the sacrifice of the GIs enabled the 1ststet Marine Division to accomplish its successful retreat. Based on analysis of official records and interviews with survivors, this study can be appreciated as a highly suspenseful account of a military catastrophe and as an inverted object lesson in field command under the worst possible conditions. As the author remarks, ``It would be hard to find a more nearly hopeless or more tragic story in American military history.'' Appleman wrote the highly regarded South to the Naktong, North to the Yalu. Photos. (April 27)
Library Journal
Much has been written about the Marines' fighting retreat from the frozen Chosin Reservoir after they were overwhelmed by Chinese troops during MacArthur's push to the Yalu River. Several small Army units also took part in the action, but their story has been neglected until now. Appleman is a U.S. Army historian, and he writes for a professional audience. The casual reader will be perplexed by the book's intricate description of military units, place names, and timetables, but will appreciate the complexities of modern ground combat. This microscopic study nicely supplements the larger canvas painted in Alexander Bevin's Korea: the first war we lost (LJ 6/15/86). For serious military collections only. Raymond L. Puffer, U.S. Air Force History Prog., Los Angeles
From the Publisher
"A highly suspenseful account of a military catastrophe and...an inverted object lesson in field command under the worst possible conditions." —-Publishers Weekly
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Product Details

Meet the Author


The late Roy E. Appleman wrote several military history studies, among them South to Naktong, North to the Yalu; Okinawa: The Last Battle; andRidgway Duels for Korea, which won the Truman Library Book Award.

Sean Runnette, a multiple AudioFile Earphones Award winner, has produced several Audie Award–winning audiobooks. He is a member of the American Repertory Theater company, and his television and film appearances include Two If by Sea, Copland, Sex and the City, Law & Order, and Third Watch.

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Sort by: Showing all of 4 Customer Reviews
  • Anonymous

    Posted January 27, 2003

    Sacrafice Beyond The Limits.

    This factual and excellant history of men, who endured untold suffering, until now, in this "Forgotten War" needed telling long ago. It's the one book I have read that tells it like it was, and points out the almost criminal neglect of the High Command structure all the way back to Japan. Why did the Generals let this Task Force be destroyed? The serious historian will know by reading this excellant book.

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    Posted April 30, 2009

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    Posted June 19, 2010

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